• CHPR News

    May 2022

Laura Kair's photo.A recent study found the odds of starting and continuing breastfeeding is significantly lower among individuals who used a combination of tobacco and illicit substances during pregnancy. Adverse health outcomes for pregnant individuals and their children have been associated with prenatal tobacco and substance use as well as with suboptimal breastfeeding.  

The study examined Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data from 2016-2018 in eight U.S. states, finding 42% lower odds of breastfeeding initiation and 39% lower odds of breastfeeding continuation for at least six weeks among people with tobacco and illicit substance use during pregnancy compared to those without tobacco and illicit substance use.

UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR) faculty members Alicia Agnoli, assistant professor of family and community medicine, and Laura Kair, associate professor of clinical pediatrics, along with UC Davis’ Kathleen Groh and colleagues Nichole Nidey, Christine Wilder, Tanya E. Froehlich and Stephanie Weber from University of Cincinnati co-authored the study published in Breastfeeding Medicine.

“People with tobacco and substance use and their babies are disproportionately not receiving the health benefits of breastfeeding,” said Kair. “We encourage researchers and healthcare providers to identify patient-centered interventions for perinatal tobacco and illicit substance use treatment coupled with breastfeeding support to help overcome barriers to breastfeeding in this population.”

Read the study: “Breastfeeding Initiation and Continuation Among Women with Substance and Tobacco Use During Pregnancy: Findings from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System 2016–2018.”